Politics & Government

A Minot REpublican state senator is skeptical about the new GOP leadership infrastructure plan.

That plan – rolled out last week – creates three new “buckets” -- $115 million for cities, $115 million for counties and townships, and $50 million for airports. The money would come from oil tax collections.

"What was rolled out was sort of a 'Here's some money for you -- you're not asking for it or applying for it, we're just going to give it to you,'" said sen. David Hogue (R-Minot). "I have a hard time with that."

The North Dakota House Democratic leader said he’s taking a deep dive into the GOP Leadership plan for funding infrastructure development statewide.

The Republican leaders are proposing three new “buckets” for funding from oil taxes. $115 million would go toward cities’ infrastructure needs, $115 million would go for counties and townships, and $50 million would be set aside for airports.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Republican Legislative leaders have rolled out an “infrastructure” plan for the 2019 Legislature.

The plan affects the entire state, not just the Oil Patch.

"We want our state to grow," said Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner (R-Dickinson) at a Bismarck news conference. "We need to meet the needs of infrastructure across the state."

The proposal creates three new “buckets” funded through oil taxes: a $115 million county/township infrastructure fund; a $115 million municipal infrastructure fund; and a $50 million airport fund.

Human sex trafficking discussed at U-Mary

Jul 25, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Members of the Bismarck-Mandan area pastoral community were at the University of Mary (July 24) to talk about Human and Sex Trafficking.

"A lot of people don't realize human trafficking is happening right here in our state," said U-Mary director of the Demand Reduction Program Stacy Schaffer. "And they don't know what to do."

Schaffer said it is very important that individuals are educated, and given tools to allow them to teach their congregations and other people within their communities.

'Ethics measure' will be on the Nov. ballot in ND

Jul 25, 2018

The “North Dakota Anti-Corruption” Constitutional amendment will be on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Al Jaeger has certified the measure. The group “North Dakotans for Public Integrity” needed 26,904 valid signatures to get the measure on the ballot. Jaeger accepted 36,849 signatures as valid.

"We are now in the process of developing strategies to make sure voters throughout the state are well aware of this measure," said group vice-president Ellen Chaffee. "It's a great opportunity to inject some common sense accountability in how state government operates."

The president of the North Dakota Council of College Faculties has been named to Gov. Doug Burgum’s Task Force for Higher Education Governance.

Dr. Debora Dragseth of Dickinson State University will replace Bismarck State College Institutional Research Analyst Dr. Ellie Shockley. Shockley recently changed jobs, causing a conflict of interest. Dragseth becomes the voting member, while Shockley will remain on the Task Force in a non-voting capacity.

Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

A number of North Dakota state agencies have asked for extensions on submitting their proposed budgets to the Office of Management and Budget for the 2019-2021 biennium.

"More than normal, I would say," OMB director Joe Morrissette told the Legislature's Budget Section.

Morrissette said part of the reason for the extensions is the extra “strategy review” sessions OMB has had with the agencies.

Bjornson named Legislative Council director

Jul 12, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

North Dakota’s Legislative Management Committee has hired Jon Bjornson as the new director of the Legislative Council.

If you are not a legislator, you may be wondering – what’s that?

"Not a lot of people know who we are, what we are and what we do," Bjornson said.

The Council writes legislation, manages fiscal affairs and provides legal advice to legislators. Bjornson said the Council is the only staff lawmakers have.

"You are citizen legislators," Bjornson told Legislative Management. "All the other branches and elected officials have their own staffs."

Gallion: 'Silos' provide some accountability

Jul 9, 2018
Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

State auditor Josh Gallion is raising concerns about one of Gov. Doug Burgum’s initiatives in “reinventing government.”

Burgum has talked about getting rid of “silos” in state government, and has also discussed state government working more as “one.”

Gallion raised the concern during a recent Legislative Audit and Fiscal Review Committee meeting.

"I believe when used properly, silos create a small degree of separation, which can be used as an internal control," Gallion told the Committee. "It promotes transparency and accountability."